Retailers have attacked an above-inflation hike in the national minimum wage.

The 3.8% rise takes effect from October and increases the minimum hourly rate from £5.52 to £5.73.

Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said the rise was unfair as it was well above the 2.2% inflation rate and not in line with public sector increases.

"Why are we expected to afford pay increases greater than those the government is prepared to pay itself?" he added.

The British Retail Consortium was disappointed with the rise but acknowledged it was lower than previous years. "There should also be no repeats of the previous inflation-busting increases, as businesses are still coming to terms with the cumulative effects of these," said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.